Many of you may have missed the passing of Hal David a few weeks ago, at the age of 91. Mr. David wrote some of the most famous songs that we sang and hummed during the 60’s and 70’s. I could not help be struck by the irony that he died in the period between the Republican and Democratic conventions, and that one of his most famous songs was called Promises, Promises. Part of the lyrics are:

Oh, promises, their kind of promises,

Can just destroy your life,
Oh, promises, those kind of promises,
Take all the joy from life,….            

I have been watching political conventions since 1964 and had the privilege to witness the infamous 1968 Democratic convention up close (before the riots broke out). I can say with complete certainty that in every one of those conventions up until today that the candidates make promises that they know they will not be able to fulfill. We are promised prosperity, security, jobs, education, low inflation, healthcare [fill-in-the-blank], etc. Nonetheless every four years (generally less in Israel),  we hope that those promises will be fulfilled and that we will not be disappointed by our elected officials.

Yet when speaking of promises, we also make promises to ourselves, to our families and friends,

Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises,
Can lead to joy and hope and love, 

As we start out the  new year, our thoughts turn to promises we pledge to make and hope that G-d will fulfill his promises of health, prosperity and peace to all of us. We make these promises with complete sincerity, but very often the realities of daily living get in the way. We all have good intentions, but sometimes the ability to execute those wishes falls short.

In our practice at Philip Stein and Associates we have seen the IRS make promises to offer amnesty programs to taxpayers that will relieve them of penalties, but the results don’t always agree with the program guidelines. We have seen a myriad of tax audits where auditors promise to accept certain types of evidence, and then change their minds. We have been told by the IRS that “cases are closed” when in fact the collection department “did not get the memo”. Nonetheless, we accept the fact that we are dealing with large bureaucracy and none of the above is particularly surprising.

As the new year is beginning  I would like to share with you some promises that we at Philip Stein & Associates are committed to:

1. Being Up to Date – The longer that I am in practice I am amazed at how many new laws, rules and forms we have to deal with every year. We are committed to not only educating ourselves but gaining expertise on issues that we feel will effect you. This includes continuing to expand our professional network of people who can answer questions about areas that we need additional expertise.

2. Being in Touch – We are constantly updating our Facebook page and adding interesting items to our website. We have now recorded many podcasts  which is a way to share with you knowledge of colleagues of ours that can help you in your daily lives.

3. Being Available – This is probably our biggest challenge. We now have almost 25 employees and in 2012 we have had 7 women give birth to date! (more to come G-d willing this year). This phenomena has required our to staff to juggle many clients and we admit at times people have “fallen through the cracks”. In the coming years we plan to add additional administrative staff who will assist our associates in order to improve primarily communication with you.

One of the verses of the song “Promises, Promises” is (I have made some editorial changes to fit our firm, my apologizes to Hal David)

Don’t you worry we’ll see you through

You just have to reach out to us
We’ll be there and we’ll help you

That’s our pledge, our Promise.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous  Year.